Microsoft’s ad campaign for the upcoming Windows 8 OS has emphasized many things, from ease of use through simple, colorful displays to increased security. One feature that hasn’t earned it many fans, though, is its incompatibility with third party hardware and software. Thanks to Microsoft instituting stricter hardware requirements for computers running Windows 8, as well as the tablet version – Windows RT – exclusively running software obtained in the Microsoft app store, they’re making it increasingly difficult to use anything on their new OS that hasn’t been directly approved (or developed) by Microsoft itself.
Among Windows 8′s critics is Gabe Newell, well known as the public face of Valve. At this week’s Seattle’s Casual Connect conference, Newell expressed his opinion – curtly, as usual – that the OS would do serious harm to outside PC companies. Realizing that Valve’s digital distributor Steam would be among the casualties, he also announced his company’s investigation into Linux expansion.
“I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space,” he said. “I think that we’re going to lose some of the top-tier PC [original equipment manufacturers]. They’ll exit the market. I think margins are going to be destroyed for a bunch of people.”
Not too long after this, Blizzard Entertainment EVP Rob Pardo posted a veritable “me, too” on Twitter, quoting part of Newell’s above statement bookended with “[N]ice interview with Gabe Newell,” and “[N]ot awesome for Blizzard either.”
We’re big fans of having open options here, so despite Microsoft’s noble goal of better security we’re anxious to see how companies like Valve and Blizzard work around this, be it reaching some manner of compromise or an exodus to another OS.